WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony


26 January 2017
7:30am – 8:30am


Walumil Lawns at Barangaroo Reserve
Barangaroo Reserve NSW

Begin your Australia Day by celebrating the world’s oldest surviving culture.

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Accessible event

$Free access

WugulOra, meaning ‘One Mob’ in the Sydney area Aboriginal language, is a special moment to begin Australia Day by acknowledging our shared history and Traditional Custodians. 

Watch a special dance performance by NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company, followed by the KARI Choir singing the National Anthem in Dharawal and English. 

Listen and sing along with the choral performance by 250 voices of the Budjari Gunyalungalung Baraya-la, which translates as ‘Let’s Sing Good Dreaming’ taught and is part of the Sydney Festival’s Bayala program

During the performance, Aboriginal and Australian flags will be raised on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Download the program


To prepare for the Morning Ceremony, winners of the 2016 National Aboriginal Dance Rites contest Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe will hold a Smoking Ceremony at Barangaroo from 7:30am to 8am. 

Smoking cerermonies are an ancient custom among Aboriginal Australians in which native plants are burnt to produce smoke to ward off bad spirits, acknowledge ancestors and pay respect to the land and sea of country. The smoke is believed to have healing and cleansing properties. 

In the video below, Yuin Elder Uncle Max Harrison and Yuin man Dean Kelly talk about the meaning and significance of a Smoking Ceremony. To turn on captions, use the video controls. 

The Australia Day 2017 Smoking Ceremony flame will be lit on 25 January at Belmore Park and stored overnight at Me-mel (Goat Island). 

On Australia Day, the fire will be transported from Goat Island to Marrinawi Cove. A procession will escort the fire from Marrinawi Cove to Walumil lawns at 7:30am.  

At 8:30am, after the Morning Ceremony, the Smoking Ceremony will sail to Campbells Cove in the Rocks. Then the Smoking Ceremony travels to the Sydney Opera House for the concert at 7:30pm. 

Barangaroo schedule

  • 7:30am: Fire arrives at Marrinawi Cove, transported from Me-mel (Goat Island). A procession will escort the fire from Marrinawi Cove to Walumil lawns. 
  • 7:45am: Smoking Ceremony on Walumil Lawns.
  • 8:00am to 8:30am: WugulOra Ceremony as above. 
  • 9:00am to 10:00am: Catch the finest wheelchair athletes from across the globeas they pass Barangaroo Reserve in the GIO OZ Day 10k wheelchair race.
  • 9:00am to 5:00pm: Take a peek at the future Metro with Sydney Metro’s life-size train carriage, complete with a 3D-vitual reality experience.
  • 10:00am to 5:00pm: Discover the spectacular free Sydney Festival installation, The Beach – a monochromatic ocean of 1.1 million recyclable polyethylene balls filling the Cutaway.
  • 11:30am: See the finish of the Ferrython as they come under the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • 10:00am to 4:00pm: Get hands-on at the Edible Kids' Gardens nature play stations along the foreshore for a unique sensory experience for the whole family.
  • 1:30pm: See the finish of the Tall Ships race as they come under the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • 3:15 to 3:35pm: Be entertained by multi-award winning Jazz virtuoso James Morrison and his band on the Cruising Concert as it rounds the headland and moors in Nawi Cove.
  • 11:00am to 4:00pm: Enjoy roving performances and live acoustic music at Duke’s Pier and Walumil Lawns.


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